Volume 84, Number 1, October 2008
Article Number 10008
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 19 September 2008
EPL, 84 (2008) 10008
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/10008

Non-Hamiltonian dynamics in optical microcavities resulting from wave-inspired corrections to geometric optics

E. G. Altmann1, 2, G. Del Magno1 and M. Hentschel1

1   Max-Planck-Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme - Nöthnitzer Str. 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany
2   Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, Northwestern University - 60628 Evanston, IL, USA

received 21 May 2008; accepted in final form 25 August 2008; published October 2008
published online 19 September 2008

We introduce and investigate billiard systems with an adjusted ray dynamics that accounts for modifications of the conventional reflection of rays due to universal wave effects. We show that even small modifications of the specular reflection law have dramatic consequences on the phase space of classical billiards. These include the creation of regions of non-Hamiltonian dynamics, the breakdown of symmetries, and changes in the stability and morphology of periodic orbits. Focusing on optical microcavities, we show that our adjusted dynamics provides the missing ray counterpart to previously observed wave phenomena and we describe how to observe its signatures in experiments. Our findings also apply to acoustic and ultrasound waves and are important in all situations where wavelengths are comparable to system sizes, an increasingly likely situation considering the systematic reduction of the size of electronic and photonic devices.

05.45.Mt - Quantum chaos; semiclassical methods.
05.45.-a - Nonlinear dynamics and chaos.
42.25.Gy - Edge and boundary effects; reflection and refraction.

© EPLA 2008